Varadkar "not intimidated" by Fine Gael leadership challenges 5 months ago

Varadkar "not intimidated" by Fine Gael leadership challenges

The Tánaiste plans on remaining in charge up to the next general election.

Leo Varadkar has said that's he's "not intimidated" by challengers looking to take his position as leader of Fine Gael.

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The Tánaiste made the comments on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Wednesday (2 March).

"I intend to lead my party into the next election," Varadkar told Kenny.

"I've had the honor of being elected on four occasions in the Dublin West constituency with an increased vote in each occasion and I intend to contest the next general election and lead my party into it.

"I'm very fortunate that I have a very strong front bench, that I have ministers behind me, [Simon] Harris, [Heather] Humphreys, [Simon] Coveney, [Paschal] Donohoe, [Hildegarde] Naughton, any of whom could be capable of leading the party.

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"I'm fortunate that I have a strong front bench behind me, and I don't feel intimidated by any of them if they have any ambitions at all.

"I was that person too at one time in the past, let's not forget," Varadkar added.

Varadkar took the Fine Gael leadership following the resignation of Enda Kenny in May 2017.

While Simon Coveney received nearly double the votes that Varadkar had achieved during the leadership election, Varadkar received more votes from parliamentary members which were weighted more, electing him as leader of the party and new Taoiseach in place of Kenny.

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Current favourites to succeed Varadkar as leader of the party include Simon Harris and Helen McEntee.

Varadkar also spoke about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, stating that there would be "no limit" to the number of refugees from Ukraine being admitted to Ireland.

Special rights will be extended to Ukrainian citizens leaving the country, including the removal of the need for visas for Ukrainian people looking to come to Europe, and that Ukrainian citizens can live and work in Ireland for as long as 3 years.